Colvilleâ€™s Ashley Knight battles Newport for loose ball. In back is McKenna Cabbage.
Indians one game back of Freeman
Providing they can escape a difficult environment at Nine Mile Falls and Lakeside (5-2, 10-7) on Tuesday night, the Colville High girls (6-1, 12-5) will face two-time defending State 1A champion Freeman (7-0, 17-0) Friday at home for a share of the Northeast A League championship.
In picking up wins last week over Newport, Riverside and Post Falls, the Indians played some of their best basketball of the season to date.
In a wild one back on Jan. 17 at home, CHS edged Newport (2-5, 11-6) 57-55. On Friday at Riverside, Colville used big first and fourth quarters to beat the Rams, 50-38. And on Saturday at Post Falls (2-4, 9-8), the Indians turned in their best all-around performance of the season in beating the Inland Empire 5A League power, 65-62.
Fridayâ€™s game with top-ranked Freeman is scheduled for a 5:45 p.m. start. Ditto Saturdayâ€™s Northeast A League finale with Chewelah (0-7, 2-15).
Colville dropped a 50-35 decision to Freeman earlier this month and eased past Lakeside ((5-2, 10-7) 49-30 at home.
That was thenâ€”and this is now.
CHS co-head coaches Ray Clark and Al Bushnell know the score attached to that Lakeside win at home was misleading. Ditto for the lopsided loss at Freeman.
But donâ€™t ask Clark and Bushnell about Freemanâ€”until after Tuesday nightâ€™s game at Nine Mile Falls against a dangerous Lakeside team.
Lakekside poses a major threat
â€śOne at a time,â€ť Bushnell said on Monday with a smile. â€śWe need to control what we can control. Our focus is on Lakeside right now and stopping Taylor Flemming and Jenna Widman.â€ť
Until the fourth quarter of Colvilleâ€™s win over Lakeside earlier this month, the Indians did a good job on Flemming and Widman. But Flemming got loose in the fourth quarter.
â€śLakeside had a big fourth quarter against us the first time,â€ť Clark said. â€śIn fact, they beat us in the fourth quarter. Iâ€™m sure they remember that.â€ť
A win at Lakeside on Tuesday night would certainly give the Indians some momentum going into their rematch with Freeman on Friday.
Any talk of Freeman starts on the defensive end, where the Scotties excel.
â€śThey do a great job of exploiting weaknesses,â€ť Bushnell said of Freeman, who notched their 40th straight win last Friday night in a 65-39 win at Newport. FHS rolled to a 23-11 first quarter lead over the Grizzlies and that was that.
League MVP candidate Alyssa Maine led Freeman with 18 points.
Alisha Sorensen added 14 points and Molly McIntyre chipped in with eight points and 12 points for another well-rounded FHS outfit.
The NEA District Tournament starts on Feb. 4 with loser-out games. The leagueâ€™s top two teams (right now Freeman and Colville) will get opening round byes.
Like the Post Falls game, the Newport vs. Colville rematch could have gone either way. But Colville dodged a bullet when the Grizzlies missed a chance to tie and send the game into overtime after getting three free throws inside the gameâ€™s final three seconds. The Indians fouled Courtney Wiese on a late NHS three-point attempt. Weise, Newportâ€™s best free throw shooter, calmly drained the first two free throws. But she missed the third one and Colville was able to secure the defensive rebound with three seconds to play.
Weise, Taylor Lewis and Miranda Frederick all scored 14 points for the Grizzlies.
â€śWe always have trouble with Newport,â€ť Clark said. â€śThat one was 50-50â€¦Newport has three really good athletes and we always have our hands full.â€ť
But the Indians were able to make some plays and catch a break or two late to make it two straight over the Grizzlies this winter.
Knight comes up big against NHS
Senior post Ashley Knight, who had struggled in recent games, came up big for Colville with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. The 5-9 senior was 10 of 17 from the field.
Sophomore guard Taryn Main added 11 points. She hit a pair of three-pointers.
Colville was 20 of 42 from two-point distance (47.6 percent) and two of seven from distance.
Knight led a balanced Colville attack with 13 points in the win at Riverside. She was the only player in double figures for CHS.
Colville was 13 of 22 from the free throw line and 14 of 41 from the field (34.1 percent). The Indians were three of seven from three-point range and committed only 10 turnovers.
Clark called the win over Post Falls the best game the Indians have played to date.
Colvilleâ€™s 22-15 fourth quarter run was the difference-maker.
â€śThat was by far the best we have played,â€ť Clark said. â€śIt was a great gameâ€¦Ashley really brought it and for the first time this season, every player was on the same pageâ€¦we are a different team when we get that.â€ť
Senior Erin Little, this weekâ€™s Benchwarmerâ€™s CHS Athlete of the Week, was a consistent force, particularly defensively, all week. She Drew the teamâ€™s toughest defensive assignment and managed 21 points, 14 assists and 18 rebounds in the 3-0 week.
Little a defensive stopper
â€śErin held Post Fallsâ€™ 6-2 post to only 11 points,â€ť Clark said. â€śThat was a key to our win.â€ť
â€śErin is really doing some good things for us,â€ť Bushnell said of the 5-11 Little.
Knight had another big game, hitting nine of 16 from the field and scoring 21 points. Little added 11 more, including a pair of three-pointers. Tasha Luu chipped in with nine points.
Like their win over Newport, Colville shot it well from the field, hitting 19 of 41 (46.3 percent). CHS was two of nine from distance.
The Indians were 21 of 32 from the free throw line.
â€śThat was another game that could have gone either way,â€ť Clark said.
The game was tied with 30 seconds left when Knight grabbed an offensive rebound and found Tasha Luu open for a big lay-in.
The Indians were able to get a defensive stop in the gameâ€™s final 12 seconds and that was that.
In another non-league game involving NEA teams on Saturday night, Newport got 20 points, six rebounds and six assists from Miranda Frederick in a tough 62-53 road win at Spirit Lake against Timberlake (7-8).
Courtney Wiese added 19 points and Taylor Lewis chipped in with 14 for NHS.
Timberlake was led by Kara Wenstromâ€™s 20 points.
Freeman blew open the game early and cruised past Newport 65-39 on Friday night. Maine led the way with 18 points.
Lewis led Newport with 13 points.
Also on Friday night, Lakeside throttled Chewelah 56-27 behind Taylor Flemmingâ€™s 17 points.
Lakeside rolled to a 20-7 first quarter lead and led by 24 points at halftime.
Last Tuesday night, Maine scored 16 points to lead Freeman to a 69-21 win at Chewelah.
Ryann Richmond led Chewelah with 11 points.
Lakeside got 15 points from Jenna Widman to lead the Eagles past Riverside, 52-33.
Courtney Davis led Riverside with 18 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Colville 65, P. Falls 62
CHS 14 18 11 22â€”65
PHS 16 18 13 15-- 62
Colvilleâ€”Knight 21, Lehman 3, Cabbage 4, Lee 0, Luu 9, Brons 3, Wittmeyer 0, Learn 3, Little 11, J. Wittmeyer 8.
Post Fallsâ€”Franklin 22, Smith 2, Litalien 22, Failor 11, Perrin 2, Gonzales 3.
Colville 50, Riverside 38
CHS 10 13 11 16â€”50
RHS 4 11 13 10-- 38
Colvilleâ€”Learn 7, Little 5, Main 5, J. Wittmeyer 3, Knight 13, Lehman 3, Cabbage 6, Lee 0, Luu 4, Brons 4, R. Wittmeyer 0.
Riversideâ€”Davis 21, Pace 1, M. Pace 10, Holme 2, Lajiness 4, Holme 2.
Colville 57, Newport 55
NHS 18 12 16 9â€” 55
CHS 17 12 18 10-- 57
Newportâ€”Wiese 14, Lewis 14, Malsbury 3, Newcomb 8, L. Malsbury 2, M. Frederick 14.
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Colvilleâ€”Cabbage 2, Knight 24, Brons 1, Luu 12, R. Wittmeyer 0, Learn 2, Little 5, Main 11, J. Wittmeyer 0.